Davidson Pitstop

I promised a while ago that I would try and write about more Fraser Valley restaurants and lately I’ve been to a few good ones. First was Five Doors Down in Whiterock and now after years of living 6 blocks away from it I have finally tried Davidson Pitstop. Located at 16225 Fraser Hwy in Surrey it  is a throwback burger joint with Harley Davidson motorcycle imagery dominating the theme, hence the name.

I’ve been told that the burgers here have been named best in Surrey but I’ve never personally seen that in writing. I asked what the best burger they was and I was told to order the deluxe with cheese and bacon. The burger patty itself was good, nice and juicy and not overcooked with a nice amount of seasoning and good texture. The cheese was of the processed American variety so no fireworks there and the bacon was thick cut and noticeable in both flavour and texture. The veggies were fresh but the bun failed to live up to the rest of the burger. It was a typical sesame burger bun that you can buy at the local grocery store and could have used a little time in a toaster.

The fries were double fried and hand cut and should have been quite good but they were over cooked in old oil causing them to be a dark brown color and quite greasy. Fries need to be cooked in fresh oil where as onion rings and other deep fried goodies actually benefit from used oil. Most restaurants have 2 fryers, one for fries and one for everything else so I’ll assume that Davidson Pit stop only has one.

So the overall verdict is a little mixed. The burger was good but let down by a mediocre, soggy bun and the fries would benefit greatly from some fresh oil. I’ll definitely go back though as this food is 10 times better than any fast food joint. Davidson Pitstop is a small tweak or 2 away from having a destination worthy burger.

Scott.

Advertisements

Great Pizza 2 for 1

It’s time for a shout out to a local favorite of mine. There are a ton of pizza places in my hood and they’re all pretty good, such as Royal Oak, but my regular pizza joint is Great Pizza 2 for 1. Now I’m not saying it’s the best pizza ever but it’s pretty good as far as bargain 2 for 1 pizza goes and it’s cheap, much like myself, good and cheap… Great Pizza, located at 15820 Fraser Hwy in Surrey, has been open roughly as long as I have lived here, 10 years or so.

There’s a big Hobart mixer in the back so I’ll assume they make their own crust which is average at best and the toppings are ok too. The cheese is not bad either…but man is it cheap! 2 large pizza’s with 2 toppings for under $20. On this particular visit i had a large Hawaiian and a large “Scott Special”, pepperoni and double cheese. Double cheese is actually DOUBLE cheese, it’s about as thick as a magazine!! Their Lasagna is actaully really good and the staff is efficient. There’s one person who I assume is an owner who knows me from day one and always wants to chat about life but if he’s not there it’s hard to get the rest of the staff to crack a smile. No matter though, I’m not there to chat, I’m there for pizza. If you’re in Fleetwood and need some cheap pizza you can’t really go wrong with Great Pizza 2 for 1, especially if you’re drunk and wandering the streets which is perfectly safe despite what you’ve heard about my fair city.

Scott.

Vancouver food bloggers, throwing stones and naming names.

Oh my goodness what a childish mess. For those of you who don’t already know there was recently a very “aggressive” post on a local food blog calling out all of the big players in the Vancouver food blogging community. It’s a long winded post but read the whole thing, it’s shockingly detailed with the writers opinions of other peoples blogs, their motives etc. Thankfully I was not a part of it seeing as I don’t blog for Urbanspoon and I really don’t give a rats ass how many people read my blog. That’s the real issue here, blogs as a business.

I write because I want people to have a laugh and find some good places to eat, not because I get free food (which does happen from time to time) or because I make money from my blog. I could put ads on my blog and to be honest I might at some point in the future but my main reasons for blogging have stayed the same since day one, I like to eat good food and want to share it with others. To name each and every person who you don’t think is “qualified” to write about food is very immature. The fact is that every single person on this planet likes to eat different things and to say someone shouldn’t be writing about food because they don’t like something is ridiculous.

As far as Urbanspoon goes I’m not interested in my ranking, it seems like a popularity contest, so I have decided that Urbanspoon isn’t for me. It works for some and that’s great but don’t criticize others because you don’t think they should be ranked higher than you. People read blogs because they are interested in their content and if they enjoy the content they will keep coming back for more. A blogs popularity means that people like it and to tell the readers that they’re wrong and shouldn’t like it because you say so is offensive. Free speech is a basic human right and I applaud Kim for having the courage to say what he was feeling but at the end of the day he looks like a spoiled little baby who can’t handle someone getting more attention then him.

I am a huge fan of EVERY Vancouver food blog and as a blogging community we offer the people of this city something truly special and I can’t wait to see future posts about great restaurants from great people. So to Richard, Raul, Melody, Sherman, Mijune, Erin, Diana, Mary, Ben, Suanne, and everyone else who writes about food in Vancouver, whether it’s for a blog, a website, a magazine or a news paper keep up the good work, haters are going to hate but the world keeps on eating.

Scott.

Mi Mexico in Bellingham

Ah Mexican food, for most people it consists of burritos and tacos stuffed with ground beef and dripping with cheese “sauce”. I admit that I am no expert on central american cuisine but I know that what passes for Mexican food in Canada is actually Americanized dishes not typically found in Mexico. Mexican food actually rarely contains beef, instead focusing on pork, chicken and in coastal areas, seafood. Mi Mexico, located at 241 Telegraph Road in Bellingham, Washington right across from Bellis Fair mall, offers a lot of traditional and “Americanized” Mexican dishes for very reasonable prices.

The decor in Mi Mexico is eclectic and very colorful to say the least which was a welcome sight after a long afternoon of outlet mall shopping. The staff are all fantastic, everyone called me amigo and they all smiled or tried to make my 1 year old laugh every time they walked passed, always stopping to see if we needed more chips and salsa or water. The chips and salsa were average, nothing that most Mexican restaurants don’t have, warmed chips and fresh salsa, with a choice between thin or chunky salsa.

For my main I ordered Tacos Al Pastor, Marinated pork loin flame broiled and sliced with onions and cilantro on warm corn tortillas. The pork was very juicy and tasted fresh with a little heat but not as much as I had hoped for. Over all though they were really good and it’s nice to have a GOOD corn tortilla unlike the ones I’ve had in Canada. The sides were rice, beans and coleslaw. The Rice was quite fresh but I’ve heard from others that this varies by what time of day you eat here…The beans were a little runny but tasted good and the coleslaw was crisp and fresh and very mild. The cheese on the beans seemed a little pointless as it didn’t have any taste, the real star was the tacos.

My shopping companion had the Chipotle Chicken Fajitas, it came with the same sides but she chose flour tortillas over corn. These are “build it yourself” fajitas and came on a huge platter, half of which was chicken and mushrooms in chipotle sauce. The sauce was nothing like chipotle I’ve had before, it actually tasted like smoked jalapenos, which is what chipotle peppers are. If that’s what real chipotle tastes like then I will never eat the stuff we have here again, this sauce was so smoky and savory with a nice amount of spice, amazing. She couldn’t finish it so I had the leftovers when we got home.

The Canadian dollar is high, take advantage of it with cheap gas, outlet malls and Mexican food, you know you want to.

Scott.

April Fools, I got you good!

So as many of you who follow me on Twitter know, today I made a big announcement that I had leased 900 Pacific St in Vancouver, the old Kettle Of Fish, and planned to open a gourmet grilled cheese restaurant. I thought that everyone would be all over this been a prank seeing as it was April 1st…but I was wrong.

I received congratulations from A LOT of people who expressed genuine excitement, even our local cheese heroes at Benton Brothers Fine Cheese sent me a congratulatory tweet and Melody Fury, founder of Vancouver Food Tour seemed almost giddy about the prospect of gourmet grilled cheese. This could not have gone any better as far as April Fools jokes go. I let it go on for a few hours while the accolades poured in and when the time seemed right I revealed that it was a hoax. I then received many more messages from very upset people who really wanted a grilled cheese joint in town, am I actually on to something here? Maybe but truth be told I hadn’t put an ounce of thought into this, I was driving past Kettle Of Fish and the idea just came to me and 30 seconds later it was on Twitter!

Well I got you good Vancouver, but the real story may be that this city seems to really want grilled cheese! Who will step up to the plate and give it to them? Will it be me after all? Maybe (probably not) but stranger things have happened.

Scott.

Great Wall Mongolian BBQ

Mongolian BBQ is a cuisine that causes seizures for those who don’t want the different foods on their plate to touch. Grab a bowl, fill it full of meat, veggies, sauce and what ever else they have and someone cooks it all together on a giant flat top grill, scoops it into a bowl and you eat it, awesome. There are a lot of Mongolian BBQ joints in and around Vancouver but the cheapest (and some would argue the best) is Great Wall Mongolian BBQ.

Great Wall is located at 717 Denman Street about a block off Robson. The lunch special is one bowl for $7.95 and it comes with a bland chicken soup, some rice, a springroll and some water. Those are just trivialities though as the big show is whatever you’ve created in your bowl. I believe I had pork, beef, tofu, udon noodles, bok choi,  sprouts, green onions, zucchini, hot chili oil, soy sauce, garlic and other things I can’t remember. I topped it off with sesame seeds and a copious amount of Sriracha (Rooster sauce as it’s know to white people). Full and happy for under 10 bucks.

If you’re brave all you can eat is only $2 more. Most Mongolian BBQ places have more items to chose from when filling your bowl but I dare you to walk out of any of them spending under $10, it doesn’t happen. Now where did I leave my Tums…

Scott.

2 Man Pub Crawl = Good Times

I went out last night with my buddy Mark who I haven’t seen in a while and did a little pub crawl through the streets of Vancouver. What a great way to see the city! I took the Skytrain downtown and met Mark at his place and we headed for stop number one, The Lennox on the corner of Robson and Granville. Mark and I used to build elevators together and one of our favorite jobs was at the Payless Shoes next door to the Lennox a couple of summers ago. We would end up at the Lennox most afternoons and it brought back memories of the good old days! I started with a couple of Caesars and then a Killkenny, strange combo but it worked. We also ate at the Lennox, I had a “New York style” corned beef sandwich with fries. It was good other than the rye bread being a little burnt.

Stop number two was The New Oxford at 1144 Homer Street in Yaletown. One of the newest members of the Donnelly Group. It’s a cool room, but feels a little cramped. We only stayed there for one drink because the service wasn’t that great, even though we were sitting at the bar! I guess my boobs aren’t big enough for the bartenders to serve me…they did have Anchor Steam beer for $5 a bottle but I only had one and we moved on.

Stop number three was a personal favorite, Glowbal Grill at 1079 Mainland Street in Yaletown. We grabbed a spot in Afterglow, the lounge at the back of the restaurant. I had a couple of Glenfiddich’s on the rocks and General Manager and all around cool guy Brandon talked us in to some tequila…That’s where the night started to get a little fuzzy. The great thing about a walking pub crawl is the fresh air you get between venues, it gives you a chance to gauge your level of intoxication better than staying in one spot and falling over when you go to leave.

After getting the royal treatment from Brandon it was off to stop number four, The Keg at 1011 Mainland street in Yaletown. We took the elevator up to the rooftop patio, easily the best patio in the city. It was recommended that we try Molson’s new beer Molson M, so we did. It’s a micro carbonated beer which means it has small bubbles. It was pretty good for Molson who’s beer is the equivalent of Wonderbread to me. We also had some bacon wrapped scallops that really hit the spot.

After that we hopped on the Canada Line and headed for Gastown, The Lamplighter, Chill Winston and The Charles Bar all had long lines and Rogue Wetbar was closed for a private function so we made a quick stop, number five, at La Casita at 101 West Cordova street. I had a Negra Modelo, we could tell things were winding down so we headed out but I will be back for lunch soon, the menu looks great!

Stop number six was a random find, The Greedy Pig at 307 West Cordova street in Gastown. I’ve never heard of this place but it was pretty cool, friendly staff, good atmosphere and a guy who claimed to be Canadian that kept ordering Bloody Marys. Even the guy from Latvia knew the difference between a Caesar and a Bloody Mary, you weren’t fooling us pal! If you’re from Saskatchewan you’ll love this place, lots of Riders memorabilia and most of the staff hails from Saskatoon or Regina.

After that I headed for the Skytrain for a long trip back to the burbs followed by a cab ride to home sweet home! Great night with a good friend, can’t wait to do it again!

Scott.

Iron Grill in Surrey – AYCE Sushi disaster

Sushi in Surrey is always going to be a gamble, but for $12.99 All You Can Eat how could I say no? Iron Grill is a 5 minute walk from my house and I had been wanting to try it since it opened about a year ago. I rounded up some good friends and we all met there at 6:30. We were greeted somewhat promptly and were told a table near the door was leaving in 5 minutes and that we could have a seat and wait. We were a party of 6 and over the next 35 minutes 3 other groups of 4 came in and were seated right away. For the whole 35 minutes that we waited no one spoke to us again and I was left holding my one year old daughter without being offered a highchair. Needless to say we left and will never go back.

We ended up a few blocks away at Il Uk Jo, a sushi and Korean BBQ place that has been around for a long time but I had never been to. The sushi was ok, nothing spectacular although they do offer a few special rolls on the AYCE menu which is rare. The non sushi dishes were also just ok with the highlight being the BBQ beef done at the table by the diners on a grill with broth in its outer edge. I’ve eaten similar Korean BBQ before but the grill was different, more like an actual BBQ. The broth added a little flavor and prevented the charing/burning that usually comes from regular grilling. The prices at Il Uk Jo are also a little high, $19.99 for AYCE but the service was great. We didn’t wait long for our food and just as we thought they had forgotten an item it showed up at our table followed by a smiling man making funny faces at my daughter.

I will probably go back to Il Uk Jo, I will not go back to Iron Grill, especially with my daughter as they don’t seem to care about families or groups of more than 4.

BBQ Challenge 2011

BBQ is super popular right now and given the fact that my last few trips to Memphis Blues have been incredibly disappointing I have decided to set out on a quest to find the Lower Mainland’s best BBQ. There will be 9 categories as follows;

1. Ribs. 2. Pulled Pork. 3. Beef. 4. Chicken. 5. Specialty Item. 6. Tap list. 7.Best overall.

Category 6 will depend on the restaurant being licensed. The overall winner does not necessarily have to have every category but it certainly won’t hurt.  This challenge will take quite a while to complete given the amount of food and categories that are involved and I may need an assistant and Mr.  Kevin Addy has graciously volunteered his services.

So what do I need from you? I’m glad you asked, if you know of a BBQ joint anywhere from Squamish to Hope I want to know about it. Even places that aren’t 100 percent BBQ but have a BBQ item or 2 on their menu will be considered, for example Big Ridge Brewing Company in Surrey will be in the pulled pork category even though that’s the only BBQ they serve.

The final results will be announced in one of my weekly articles and will be a mouth watering, meat lovers paradise. Start sending me those BBQ hot spots by leaving a comment at the bottom of this post or by email to whatsforlunchbc@rocketmail.com (just copy and paste the address). As always thanks for reading and don’t forget to check out my new gig at The Vancouver Observer as a real, honest to goodness restaurant critic/writer of random awesomeness.

Scott.

Thank You.

This has been one crazy year, easily the most rewarding of my life. I learned a lot, met some great people and became a father. I have learned that Fish Sauce tastes awesome on everything, Bristol Palin lists one of her qualifications for paid public appearances as “unwed mother” and at the risk of upsetting most women and teenage girls I have discovered that the true message of the Twilight book series is that all men are monsters who crave young flesh. That last tidbit was revealed to me on a new TV show called Community staring a much older looking than anticipated Chevy Chase, and it’s really not that funny. Well done Stephanie Meyer, you have solved the mystery of men once and for all.

As the year approaches its end I feel like I have really found a rhythm in my life, one that has really never been there before. I have a great family, wonderful friends, a good job and the coolest dog ever who is soon to have a little sister, sorry Cooper but you knew it was coming. To top off all of that awesomeness I have THIS. This blog has given me a release for some creative energy that my day job can’t provide. I have met some cool people, found some great food treasures and figured out that I am a total social media junkie. I am hopelessly addicted to Twitter and I find myself scanning my Twitter feed looking for tweets from my favorites. They include @therealcabbie, @SandraOldfield, @jminter, @hummingbird604, to name a few. I also have some ACTUAL PEOPLE I KNOW who I follow on Twitter such as @HeatherVince, @eye_candy_photo and @dylan_redekop.

I love the local blogging scene and without my old pal Dylan I wouldn’t be doing this at all. His Blog, More Than A Feeling Music, was my inspiration and I still read every post he writes, really good stuff. My friend Erika was inspired somewhat similarly by me! Totally flattered and I think she is an amazing photographer. Her blog, Eye Candy Photoworks, has some great stuff, including some shots of yours truly and my little girl. There are some other local blogs that I read on a regular basis as well such as Miss 604 by Rebecca Bollwitt and Hummingbird 604 by Raul Pacheco-Vega. I have discovered that this city has infrastructure to support freelance writers and bloggers in the form of co-working spaces like The Network Hub.

This year has been full of great food discoveries like The Roaming Dragon, Argo Cafe, Nuba, Benton Brothers Fine Cheese, Five Guys Burgers & Fries and Michi Waffle & Espresso Bar. I have received great feedback about my posts from all over the world and I am continually evolving my writing style and content to try to make it as appealing and user-friendly as possible. I have also launched a new company, Ninety3 Days Media, to oversee this blog and act as a promotional arm for a book I’m writing about my daughter Hayley.

Thank you to everyone who has supported me by reading this blog or following me on Twitter or Facebook. It still amazes me that people take time out of their busy lives to read what I write. This will be my last post this year so that I can take it easy over Christmas so whatever and wherever you are celebrating this holiday season I hope it is fantastic and I look forward 2011 and everything it will bring.

Cheers,

Scott.